One of Newmind’s Core Values is: Make things better. As the CEO, I’m also continually thinking about how to make things better not only for the company, but for the employees within it. Those in leadership positions have to ask the question: How can we improve the work experience of our employees? After reading some material by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, and from what I’ve gathered through other experience, it clicked with me that there are four things which are important to have in the workplace to engage employees:
- Common vision and identity
- Progress tracking
Common Vision and Identity
As a service-based organization, we have defined a clear mission statement that describes what we do for our customers. We then set company-wide goals to align with the mission statement. These things by themselves, though, do not provide the environment and long-term draw to keep employees excited and engaged.
Core Values define who we are and how we act in achieving our mission and goals. Making sure everyone is on the same page in knowing how Newmind operates is important and is something we communicate early-on in the hiring process. In order to allow for a more comfortable and successful transition into the workplace, it’s helpful for a new hire to know what is expected of them as well as of their peers. In fact, we use our Core Values as the determining factor in whom we hire.
Maintaining a common vision and identity is a critical leadership responsibility as we continue to grow. If the vision or the identity erodes through poor management, the value of the company can begin to dilute as well. However, if we nurture a strong identity through careful hiring and valuing of employees, our efficiency and customer service can actually improve over time.
Historically, Newmind Group has always been very family-like and encouraging with one another. I want to continue to grow this aspect of our culture and it fits naturally with having a common vision and setting up core values as mentioned above. Connectedness is something we nourish in a variety of ways. Going out together for lunch, battling each other in a video game now and again, rubber band and nerf wars, and having annual get-togethers are all great ways to build our relationships. Encouraging that kind of connectivity – on and off the job – really enriches how we all work together as a team.
The more horizontal-looking structure of our company brings about a natural connectedness as well. Newmind culture encourages everyone to give each other feedback and recognition, instead of those responsibilities just residing with me. It’s really awesome to see all the different interactions that take place here.
In the end, these relationships create a sense of shared destiny. Everyone buys into the vision and feels a vested interest in making sure we all succeed together. We don’t want to let our friends down.
Aligning our visions is essential in order to achieve the goals we set for the company, specific departments and individuals. Newminders and the departments as a whole are very open with what their goals are and because of that, are then able to be encouraged and assisted in achieving them.
Keeping track of progress can have a significant impact on employee productivity as well as maintaining connectivity with leadership. We have a very transparent system for tracking the goals we’ve set and the ways in which we go about accomplishing them. It is a great motivator for everyone to visualize the progress each employee makes. What’s more, the transparency enables others to offer unsolicited help if they see another person’s goal that might be languishing.
Beyond company goals, I love to hear about personal aspirations that aren’t related to work because Newmind really encourages a work-life balance. Being able to track progress toward personal goals and support our employees in those endeavors is really valuable to us. Again, nurturing the well-being of employees is important if you want to have a happy and productive company.
After reading some studies concerning happiness, I’ve learned that once people are able to meet their basic necessities, recognition within an organization becomes a higher motivator than money. This is huge! Receiving recognition sparks an emotional response that is highly encouraging to people in their work. It’s important for employees to know that what they’re doing is appreciated and recognized by others as having an impact, whether it’s felt within the workplace, with clients, or the community. Noticing efforts can go a long way.
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog where I’ll give a review of a social performance platform we’ve been utilizing to help visualize these essentials in action!
What things do you find important in order to engage your team?